This paper describes the behavior in aqueous solutions of the two electron oxidation products of the carcinogens benzidine and N,N-dimethylbenzidine. In biological systems there is evidence that these diamines are oxidized by peroxidases, and that a product of this oxidation may be partly responsible for carcinogenicity.
Entry into the oxidation products in the present study was provided through the bis-perchlorate salts of dications obtained upon chemical oxidation and through the irradiation of 4′-amino and 4′-N,N-dimethylamino-4-azidobiphenyls. The benzidine oxidation product exists in three conjugate acid-base forms, a dication, a monocation and neutral bisimine, with pKa(1) = 5.0 and pKa(2) = 9.0. These values stand in marked contrast to ones previously obtained for the two electron oxidation product of p-phenylenediamine, pKa(1) < 1.5 and pKa(2) = 5.75. The dimethylamino derivative, blocked from forming the neutral form, exists as a dication and monocation, with pKa = 5.0. Both systems are quite long-lived in aqueous solution, but they do decay on the minutes-to-hours time scale. The kinetics can be explained by reactions of both the dication and the monocation with water, with a reaction of hydroxide and the monocation becoming important around pH 10. One surprising result is that the monocations are two orders of magnitude more reactive than the dications. Thus, at neutral pH the form that exists in both systems is the monocation, and this is the species that is the most reactive towards the solvent. One of the resonance contributors in the monocation is a 4-biphenylylnitrenium ion. Comparison with other 4'-substituted-4-biphenylylnitrenium ions studied by laser flash photolysis shows that the 4'-amino- and 4'-dimethylamino substituents are highly kinetically stabilizing. These cations, for example, are a billion-fold longer-lived in aqueous solution than the parent 4-biphenylylnitrenium ion.Key words: quinone bisimine, nitrenium, aryl azide. RA McClelland, D Ren, R D’Sa, AR Ahmad.Read Article